Monday, January 10, 2011

Ken Berry & Sandy Duncan in The Cat From Outer Space 1978

The 1970's was an interesting era for Disney films. They had a string of successful live action films, culminating in The Black Hole (1979), while the number of their animated productions fell into decline. One of these lesser known live action productions was The Cat from Outer Space (1978). Experiencing mechanical problems, a UFO lands in a field and attempts to contact the mother ship for assistance. They cannot provide it, so the lone alien must find a way to fix the problem himself. The hatch opens and out comes Jake, a seemingly ordinary household tabby cat with telekinetic and telepathic powers (when he's wearing his blingy light up collar). Of course he must jump through many (figurative) hoops to fix his ship and rejoin his fleet before they depart the solar system. He's aided by Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan and McLean Stevenson. As with all of these 70's Disney films, it's choc full of great character actors - Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg to Dukes of Hazard fans), Hans Conried and Roddy McDowell, to name a few. Jake the cat is voiced by Ronnie Schell, who you may remember from his many appearances on 70's sit-coms. It's silly, diverting fare that is especially enjoyable for cat lovers. I saw it when it was first released (I was 9), and remember enjoying it quite a bit.

There's an extremely poor quality version of it on YouTube, uploaded by mcog2006, and as with most Disney films, it's available on DVD. Unlike its brethren from that era (The Apple Dumpling Gang and to a lesser extent, Candleshoe) It's rarely screened on TV, however.

Obscurity factor: 6 (largely forgotten, available on DVD and YouTube)

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